Sunday, December 12, 2010

Differential Effects of British and French Colonization

The case of Cameroon that was divided between Britain and France following the German defeat in WWI, to be reunited only much later, at independence in 1960, highlights the effects of colonial rules and legacies on present day economies.

A new research by Alexander Lee ad Kenneth Schultz of Stanford shows that rural households on the British side still have, today, higher levels of wealth and are more likely to have access to improved sources of water (a locally provided public good).

They remain cautious, however, about the relative importance of the factors that can explain these differences:

“The exact origin of the British advantage are impossible to determine with certainty, but we hypothesize that it is caused by a combination of ‘hard legacies’ (lack of forced labor, more autonomous local institutions) and ‘soft legacies’ (common law, English culture, Protestantism). The relative role of these two types of influence is a fruitful topic for future study.”

Read more, here .

Hat tip: Laura Freschi (AidWatch).

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